Blu-ray Players

OPPO BDP-83 Universal Blu-ray Player - Benchmark

ARTICLE INDEX

In Use

The BDP-83 was a breeze to set up because of the well designed menu system. After the BDP-83 has been connected and powered on the player begins with the easy setup wizard. This allows for picking the video connection, the default resolution, and the audio preferences. This wizard is great for home theater novices as it shows images of what the connections look like. All of these choices can be revisited at any time after finishing the setup wizard.

Since OPPO often releases firmware updates that address new enhancements, it's a good idea to check OPPO's website for new firmware and update the player with the latest release. Firmware updates can be performed in one of three ways. They are, using an internet connection with the player, using a USB stick, or burning the update onto a CD. I preferred using the USB stick method to accomplish the task, but if the player is connected to the internet, the player will automatically detect and download new releases, so it's just as easy and download times are relatively quick. To update by USB, simply download the new firmware update file from the OPPO website to the computer's hard drive and then unzip the file onto a USB stick. The USB stick can be placed into either one of the BDP-83's two USB 2.0 ports and the player will automatically sense that there is new firmware available and will prompt the user to apply the update. The process can also be done manually through the menu by pressing the Setup button on the remote, selecting Device Setup, Firmware Upgrade, and then VIA USB. After the update has been initiated, there is an onscreen and front panel display that shows a progress indicator. It's very important that the player is not disturbed during this process as any interruptions or power loss during a firmware write can render the player useless. For this review, the player was tested using the June 11 Beta Firmware Release.

Here are the screen shots during the setup procedure.

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You can take a video tour of the BDP-83's features by clicking HERE.

I liked the BDP-83 remote control a lot due to its straightforward and intuitive layout. It's about the same size as most universal remotes but the buttons are fairly large. All of the buttons are also clearly labeled and some of the more commonly used ones have familiar icons stamped on them. The remote employs excellent backlighting so it's also very easy to find buttons in the dark.

Load times on the BDP-83 were brisk. DreamWorks' Tropic Thunder, which is Java-based, clocked in at 35 seconds. Non-Java-based titles, such as the remastered version of The Fifth Element will load much faster. Load times have always been a complaint of Blu-ray player users, and this player performed pretty well in that category.

Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray Player

Video

No doubt about it, the BDP-83 produces a beautiful image for Blu-ray. The player exhibited excellent chroma and luma details with even distribution amongst the frequencies. The player also showed that it can display all of the below black and above white information properly without clipping.

Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray Player


I used the popular Warner Bros title The Dark Knight to get an idea of the video quality in real world use. The blacks were excellent and gave the image depth and dimension. In the pan over intro scene to The Dark Knight, every bit of detail is preserved as you can see the fine lines of the buildings and the detail of the roof structure with perfect resolution as the camera pans. I also found the color representation to be very precise on the BDP-83 with natural representation and an image free from banding problems.

For standard DVD upscaling to 1080p, I did an A/B comparison between OPPO's  DV-980H universal DVD player and the BDP-83 using HDMI outputs on both players. Source material used was New Line Cinema's The Fellowship of the Ring Special Extended Edition disc one. Upscaling on the BDP-83 was top notch. The colors produced were vivid and the blacks were very deep which gave a three dimensionality to the image.  Nothing was missed in any of the detail, and the image was sharp and had good clarity. While the images on both players had excellent detail and were free from artifacting, I'd give the edge to the BDP-83 for having slightly deeper blacks and richer colors, whereas the DV-980H looked a tad softer and washed out. In addition, setting the BDP-83 to output the DVD at 1080p24 frame rate gave motion a very fluid and lifelike appearance. Having the 1080p24 feature available is great to have, and it can breathe new life into your favorite DVDs.

The BDP-83 has five speeds of fast forward and reverse, and they worked very smoothly. The player also features an informative on-screen display that displays the audio codec, bit rate, title and chapter, and time remaining on the track. Video resolutions can be changed on the fly using the remote control.

Audio (JEJ)

The OPPO BDP-83 performed beautifully in terms of the sound. You can use the 7.1 analog pre-outs if you have an older receiver, and the sound was very good. Distortion was low, and everything sounded crisp without being sibilant. The BDP-83 decodes Dolby Digital TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio internally, and will deliver the sound through the 7.1 analog pre-outs. Of course, if you have one of the newer receivers with HDMI inputs, you can send your music from CDs, SACDs, DVD-As, SD DVD movies, and Blu-ray movies to the receiver in digital format.

We went through several movies, but also some SACD and DVD-A, and the player handled all of them without a hitch. The analog outputs had more noise than the HDMI connection, but that is to be expected, since analog cables pick up noise along the way from the player to the processor. Although you can select bitstream or PCM for the various media through the HDMI connection, and there are some measurable differences (see the Audio Measurements section of Benchmark Performance), I didn't hear and difference between them. However, SACDs and DVD-As both sounded more detailed than CDs. The difference between the high rez formats and CDs is not as dramatic as some have stated, but it is noticeable. For me, though, it is the discrete multi-channel sound in SACD and DVD-A that makes them so enjoyable.

You can change the way the player handles the signal by selecting bitstream or PCM. I measured some differences, but I could not really hear any difference between the bitstream mode and PCM mode.

Taken is a great action film that we reviewed recently, and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is the codec. I am delighted that we finally have players, processors, receivers, AND the movies with the high rez codecs. The sound is just breathtaking.

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The Matrix 10th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray release has 5.1 Dolby TrueHD sound. I found myself gripping the arm rests with so much action and such tremendous surround sound that is not compressed. My four subwoofers are finally getting the workout they were meant to have.

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The Punisher has 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, and what I have found is that movies which have 7.1 surrround make a point of using all seven channels quite a bit. The movie was pretty good, but the sound just blew out the walls. It's disappointing that so many movies make such little use of the surround channels. A typical 5.1 release will use the surrounds mostly for the music.

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For music, Yuko Maruyama's DVD-A, In Tone Nation, is superb both as a performance and as a sound demonstration. I am getting more and more convinced that listening to music in a discrete high rez surround format is much more enjoyable than stereo. Of course, there are surround sound discs out there that are produced in such a way that you have the drums behind you on the left, piano behind you on the right, sax front left, guitar front right, and singer in the middle. That sort of balance is not very natural in terms of how you would hear the performance live. But, engineers are getting over the novelty of surround sound, and beginning to use the multiple channels appropriately. In Tone Nation is one of them, and so is Michael Murray's SACD release of classical organ arrangements. In fact, this particular disc gave me more of an "I am sitting right there with the pipes" than any organ music disc I have ever heard. Two channels don't cut it anywhere near what 5.1 does in cases like these. I have begun to see music being released as Blu-ray discs, so I think high rez, multi-channel music will survive. Producers will have their choice of DVD-A (where most of the popular music seems to be), SACD (classical music appears to favor this format), and Blu-ray.

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In sum, I really didn't have any complaints about the sound quality at all. But, I preferred using the HDMI connection as it had less noise.